Step One: Be Proactive
Review scholarship applications and requirements and apply only to those in which you meet the requirements. Develop a time line on each scholarship and make notes on what items will be needed for each application. Search for as many scholarship resources as possible. Resources may include local non-profile community organizations, employers and college campuses.
Step Two: Be Organized
Request several sealed transcripts and make several copies of your resume and recommendation letters. Make sure all documents are clean and easy to read.
Step Three: Be Prepared
Complete all required steps in the application process including completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. In order to complete this FAFSA you’ll need your social security number, most recent year’s tax forms, or end of year pay stubs, W-2 forms and records of the recent year’s untaxed income, such as child support or Social Services, Social Security and the Veterans Administration.
Step Four: Be Careful
Realizing the potential of possible scams, avoid using scholarship/financial search organizations that make guarantees of receiving a scholarship. There is no such thing as a guaranteed scholarship. Don't procrastinate: Meet all application deadlines and make sure you complete all required steps. Most scholarship organizations attribute incomplete applications as the primary reason why students do not meet eligibility requirements.
Step Five: Be Positive and Patient
Once you carefully read eligibility criteria and complete all the necessary paperwork and submit items requested, your chances of winning a scholarship are greater than those who never even apply. Remain positive and await a response.